Thursday, March 03, 2005

At Least Try to Try

St. Louis 70 Memphis 61

Inexcusable. Absolutely inexcusable. It's one thing to lose to a top ten team like Louisville, no shame in that (even if you shoot 19%), but to lose to a 7-20 St. Louis team? Awful. Memphis deserved to lose that game, because Memphis simply did not want to win as much as St. Louis did.

St. Louis is the worst rebounding team in Conference USA. St. Louis has very little size inside. Yet St. Louis outrebounded Memphis last night. Effort. St. Louis gave it, Memphis gave nothing resembling it.

The real litmus test of aggressiveness and desire is free throw attempts. Typically, if a team plays hard and tries to penetrate, that team will draw fouls and free throw attempts will follow. St. Louis shot 39 free throws last night (many of them coming late, to be fair); Memphis shot 9. Effort.

The Tigers once again had problems getting good shots against a zone defense--Memphis took 29 three-pointers (and only made 9). St. Louis kept working the ball inside, and Izik Ohanon (who?) ended up with a career night (26 points and 10 rebounds). Memphis' inside players (Erwin, Barclay, Dorsey, Thiero) took a combined 10 shots and scored 7 total points. Effort.

John Calipari did not make adjustments in a game yet again. St. Louis' outside shooting was at times embarrassing, yet Calipari rarely played any zone defense. The Tigers weren't making anything happen offensively from the outside, so did they change things up and try to work the inside a little more? No. No adjustments.

The most disturbing thing to come out of this game is Rodney Carney's comment on the postgame show:

"I'm sorry to say this but some of the guys want this
season to be can see it in their eyes."

On the list of things you want one of your top players to say, this is pretty much on the bottom. The team was fighting for a first-round bye in the C-USA tournament, fighting to finally play well in St. Louis, and supposedly trying to recover from a brutal loss to Louisville, and yet some of the guys want the season just to end? As I've said (and Rodney Carney confirmed), you can boil this loss down to one word: Effort.

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